Tuesday was just another ordinary day for Officer M. Mills of the Wilkens Precinct, but "ordinary" for police officers is sometimes considered "extraordinary" by those whose lives they touch.

Officer Mills responded to a call for a possible fire with smoke showing in a wooded area off of Washington Boulevard in Catonsville around 9:31 a.m., but was unable to locate any fire. He searched the wooded area, where he happened upon a disheveled man and questioned him about seeing any smoke or fire. The man admitted to starting the fire to keep warm and the smoke resulted when he'd extinguished it. Officer Mills continued to talk with the man, who began to recount a tale of disparity, including the prayer for food he'd said just before Officer Mills' arrival.

It is fairly routine for officers to encounter transient citizens during their shift, so this incident was just another routine situation that Officer Mills would handle that day. However, his response could either make the man's day ordinary or extraordinary.

Officer's Extraordinary Assistance

Officer Mills started his response by giving the man cash for food from his own pocket.

Realizing he needed more, Officer Mills offered to drive him to a shelter, which the man accepted. Officer Mills could easily have dropped the man off at any shelter and called it a day. Instead, knowing that most shelters have waiting lists or are filled to capacity, Officer Mills took him to Baltimore County Westside Men's Shelter on Redwood Circle and stayed there, speaking with employees, who provided a hot meal, shower, clean clothes, and ensured a space for the man at the shelter.

Lastly, just before leaving, Officer Mills noticed the poor condition of the man's shoes. He inquired and the man explained that he'd walked to the Baltimore area from Pennsylvania. Officer Mills left, but soon returned with new shoes for the man donated by Walmart.

Officer Mills didn't think much about his response to this call for service; it was just another ordinary day. We're cops; it's what we do. His supervisor, however, recognized that the decisions he made and the effect he had on one person were extraordinary, and that creates a ripple effect. President Calvin Coolidge said, "No one is compelled to choose the profession of a police officer; But having chosen it, everyone is obligated to perform its duties and live up to the high standards of its requirements." Well done, Officer Mills.